What might we mean by monoculture? What is the impetus for ‘identitarian’ or nationalistic monoculture movements who do not see, or wish, their society to be pluralistic, not just in the context of Europe but globally? Might we locate positive or even emancipatory aspirations of monoculture? Might a culturally homogeneous society also be inclusive and transformational? What lies at the fringes of monoculture, and what does it not tolerate? What may be the position of the arts within the context of monocultural ideology? Or alternatively, how might the arts look under monocultural ideology when taken to its logical conclusion?

MONOCULTURE – SOCIALISTISCH REALISME

Image00025 scan: (c) M HKA, Published by Putnam & Co., LTD
Mikhail Sholokho, "Virgin Soil Upturned", 1935
Book , 20.5 x 14.5 x 5cm

Virgin Soil Upturned, first published in Russian (as Поднятая целина) in 1932, is the first celebrated Socialist realist novel by Mikhail Sholokhov (1905-1984), a Soviet novelist and the winner of the 1965 Nobel Prize for Literature. The plot unfolds through the story of the massive collectivisation of agriculture and the establishment of collective farming in the villages and in the minds of peasants. Through the lives of his characters, Sholokhov tells the story of one of the most arduous periods and controversial policies in the history of the Soviet regime. Shortly after the publication of the book, the major famine of winter 1932-1933 took place as a result of forced collectivisation, and caused millions of deaths. In 1959, Sholokhov would publish a sequel to the novel, describing the dramatic consequences and the terror of the past. ‘Collectivisation’ was the policy of abolishing individual peasant landholdings through their integration into collective and state-controlled farms, carried out in the USSR from 1928 to 1937. The aim was to transform small private farms into large public cooperative production to simplify the system of harvesting agricultural products. It was expected that such measures would immediately increase the food supply for the growing urban population and provide the means for processing industrial and agricultural exports.